By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — The Babe Ruth 14U state tournament came to Naugatuck this month with six teams from District II vying for a spot in the regionals.
“The Babe Ruth season is going strong,” said David Falzone, director of the Naugatuck Babe Ruth league. “We are at the midway point of the season and to host this six-team double elimination tournament with a chance to go to Rochester, New Hampshire, in the regionals is a big deal.”
Games were played at Breen Field and Naugatuck High School. Falzone noted Naugatuck hasn’t hosted the tournament “in quite some time.”
The Naugatuck 14U team opened the tournament July 11 with a 3-2 loss to perennial state favorite Trumbull.
Naugy took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Nate Cabezas belted a two-run hit bringing Jack Doxsey and Jose Guzman, who had both singled, across the plate.
On the mound, Guzman shut down Trumbull over six innings, striking out three.
Trumbull struck for three runs in its final at bat to pull out the win and send Naugy to the losers’ bracket.
East Lyme beat Naugy, 16-0, the day after the Trumbull game to eliminate the host team. Conner Walker got the only two hits for Naugy.
“For a team that had four 13-year-olds and nine 14 year-olds, I’m proud of how they battled,” Naugatuck manager Joe Brink said. “We had some of our young players step up and make some great plays. Couldn’t be any prouder of their effort.”
Trumbull was scheduled to play North Haven for the title.
While the 14U tournament played out in the borough, the Naugatuck Babe Ruth 15U participated in a six-team, double-elimination tournament in Milford.
Naugatuck opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over New Canaan on July 10 and followed that up with another 5-2 win over Milford on July 11.
Andrew Tyszka pitched 4 1/3 innings and struck out 12 New Canaan batters. Jacob Guggino and Alex Torrens finished up on the hill.
Naugy broke a 2-2 tie in the last inning with three runs on hits from Tyszka, Guggino, Torrens and Mike Smith.
Torrens gave up three hits in 6 2/3 innings against Milford. Guggino and Tyszka had two-run hits each. Jason Main had a hit, a run and a RBI, and Tyler Stankey had a hit and a run.
The two wins set up a showdown with Waterford, which beat Naugatuck, 3-2, in walk-off fashion.
Tyszka pitched 6 1/3 innings against Waterford. Torrens delivered two RBI to pace the offense.
“We came out hard and the kids had a lot of confidence,” Naugy manager Erik Bartek said. “We got strong pitching and the defense was outstanding. Came to that last inning against Waterford and that was tough to take.”
Naugy was eliminated with a 5-3 loss to New London on July 15. Smith had two hits and two RBI. Torrens added a hit and a RBI.
New London beat Waterford, 10-0, to win the title.